During my senior year of college, I was lucky enough to study abroad in Sydney Australia. I have always een a homebody, so taking that step and moving to another country for several months felt like a crazy thing for me to do, but as expected it was one of the most incredible and memorable times of my life. I was without a working oven for those four months, so my longing for baking was at an all-time high when I got back (which is the main reason I launched this blog), but with the help of some great new friends and some really unbelievable new experiences, I made it through just fine. One of the greatest parts of the trip was making new friends, however since the program was a national one, many of my new friends were from other parts of the country. Until a couple weekends ago, I hadn’t seen some of them since we left Australia! Our Boston reunion was such a happy time for me, and in addition to having my great Australia friends back, I got to take them to do one of my favorite activities in the whole wide world – apple picking!
We found an orchard close-ish to Boston and squished all 6 of us into a tiny little 4-door sedan. The hour+ drive was a tight squeeze, but we reminisced and laughed a lot and enjoyed each other’s company and it was great. One of my friends had never been to an apple orchard before, so it was so exciting for her to get to experience it, and for all of us to get to take in the glorious fall weather, abundant sunshine, and lots and LOTS of apples.
Not surprisingly, I ended up picking a whole bag myself, and brought the entire thing home… though I’m not really supposed to be eating apples these days, so the several pounds of fresh apples posed a problem of sorts – what to do with them? With my encouragement Kevin went on a 2-apple-a-day diet to help eat some of them up, and then I went to town baking with the rest.
The first recipe I tried was a recipe for Apple Cider Bread, but given that I wanted to be able to easily share my creation with my visiting guests, I turned that recipe into these Apple Cider Muffins. And they were glorious. I made no tweaks to the recipe, except maybe to add a bit more apple (I’m really into chunks in my muffins… does that sound strange?!), and by the end of that day the muffins were nearly gone. Everyone loved them! Kevin even said they were better than the fresh cider donuts I brought home hot out of the oven at the orchard… so I guess that’s saying something!
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1/2 cup apple cider
2 1/4 cups chopped apples (peeled and cored – I used a combination of Macs and Empires)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 8×5-inch loaf pan.
2) Sift dry ingredients (flour through cloves) into a medium bowl.
3) In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together butter and sugars. Beat in eggs. Add in flour mixture alternately with cider- about half at a time, and mix just until combined.
4) In a small bowl, toss apples with lemon juice. Stir into the batter.
5) Scoop batter into the prepared pan. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for at least 20 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and let cool completely. The muffins should keep for several days covered or wrapped well.